With Fannie Mae's $1 billion HouseOakland community lending venture under way, organization officials will now use Oakland, Calif., as a "laboratory" to research, develop and fine-tune their program for use as a model with other U.S. central cities that are lining up to follow the Bay city's lead.

The project, which has attracted several U.S. central cities now negotiating similar plans with Fannie Mae, pools all of Fannie's affordable lending programs, as well as a few Oakland-unique programs, to help finance the purchase, construction or rehabilitation of more than 10,000 units of single-family and multifamily housing for Oakland's low-, moderate- and middle-income families over the next five years.

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